36 Pittsfield Road
Lenox MA 01240
(413) 637-1414
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Quote: “In order to be wealthy, you must be healthy”


How can exercise keep you mobile and out of the nursing home?

Nursing home care is a 40 billion dollar a year industry in the U.S. and growing.  It has been suggested people exercise less as one grows in age because of the social-psychological process of aging, exercise being inappropriate and less of a priority.  Seasoned individuals (over 65) who are fit will be able to conduct activities of daily living without undue fatigue, make a faster and more complete recovery from sickness or debilitating illness.  Exercise is effective in reversing or slowing age related declines in motor and cognitive performances.  A lot of aging has been physiologically substantiated by disuse and not AGE!.  For example, the work capacity for the average person from 30-70 has been shown to decline 30% It has been shown that the major organ systems decline is from disuse more than age .  The rapid drop in skeletal musculoskeletal system is more from disuse than age. The loss of bone mass is the disuse of the building up of the bone matrix from stimuli of use.   During aging, maintenance of mobility is a central issue to reducing most/some health aliments, Mobility problems can lead to falls, risk of hip fractures increases dramatically after the age of 50.  Approximately 20% of females who experience hip fractures do not survive the first year post fracture and another 20% do not regain the ability to walk without assistance which often leads to institutionalization. 

Between the ages of 60-75 there is a significant decrease in functional health.   In sedentary adults VO2 max(the efficiency of your body to breath) decreases 1.3L/min for females and 2.0L/min for males from ages 25-85.  The average person of age 75 can attain a vo2 max of just 17-24ml/kg/min.  An athletic (exercising person) can achieve values over 35ml/kg/min.  Ones peak oxygen uptake (VO2max) will predict ease of performing activities of daily living with much less difficulty.  With aging comes loss of bone of about .3% to .5% per year.  Tighter meshing and decreased linear pull on the collagen tissue leads to decreased flexibility with age.  The combination of collagen changes and reduced water content results in a decrease in vertebral disc size and more inflexible spine.  The decrease in changes in elastin component of connective tissue can also lead to loss of mobility and stability in the joints.  This results in decreased motion of joints and increased joint stiffness.  There is significant relationship between the ability to move around with knee flexion and hip flexion (the ability to squat/bend down) and the ability to use the upper extremities over one's head (such as reaching up to cabinets etc.) 

The reduction in muscular strength/mass is associated with the largest contributor to inability to perform activities of daily living.  Balance has been shown to decrease dramatically ages over 70 show balance durations of no more than 13 seconds where as ages 30 years old balance durations are common almost double of 25 seconds.  Since the ankle joint is a major source of receptors these act as primary contributors to gait and balance control.  Substantial research validates that declines in age related movements of the body is neither inevitable nor once developed permanent.  Exercise can and does improve all joint stiffness (inflexibility), muscular degeneration (strength), nerve degeneration(balance), cognitive function (memory/brain function), etc.

Remember, no matter where you are in the aging pross, it is never too late to continue to improve your mobility away from being immobile.

By: J. D. Reber M.S. & B.S. Exercise Science, CSCS & NASM- CFT

Reference: Daley J, M. Spinks L W. Exercise, Mobility and Ageing. Sports Med 2000 Jan; 29 (1) 0112-1642


Remember, eat healthy and live wealthy!

Personal training in Lenox, MA